If you have significant sleep problems, then your doctor may recommend that you spend a night at a sleep center. These centers monitor your sleep patterns and activity during the course of a night. You're then tested while you sleep.
This is a useful assessment. The data helps your doctor work out why you're having difficulties while you sleep. Once they know where the problem lies, they can recommend suitable treatments.
In some cases, doctors recommend that patients go in for a split-night sleep study. How does this assessment work and what are its benefits?
What Is a Split-Night Sleep Study?
When you have a regular study, you spend the night in a room at a sleep center. Before you settle down to sleep, you're hooked up to various monitors. These check things like your oxygen levels, brain waves, stages of sleep, and movements. This kind of study is useful if your doctor isn't quite sure where the problem lies. It gives them various results to help with a diagnosis. If your doctor suspects you have a specific problem, such as sleep apnea, then they may recommend a split-night test.
During a split-night study, your sleep technician sets you up with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask as well as other monitors. This mask connects to a machine that uses pressure to keep your airways open when you sleep. You don't typically wear the mask or use the machine when you first go to bed. As you sleep, you'll be monitored to see what is going on.
If you have a certain number of apnea events, your technician wakes you up to put the mask on so they can try the CPAP machine. As you go back to sleep, they can adjust the machine's pressure to see how that affects your apnea episodes.
What Are the Benefits of a Split-Night Study?
Like any sleep study, a split-night session gives you useful information about your concerns. More specifically, it can confirm an apnea diagnosis and give your doctor specific information about how much of a problem you have to contend with.
As well as helping with a diagnosis, a split-night study also moves you on to treatment more quickly. You get to try out a CPAP machine in a safe clinical environment; your technician can find the right pressure levels to deal with your apnea most effectively while you sleep. If your doctor then recommends that you use a CPAP machine at home, then they'll know the right settings to use. You target your problems more effectively and more quickly.
To find out more about split-night studies, contact a local sleep center.